November 24, 2014

The Georgia O'Keeffe painting "Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1" sold for $44.4 million at auction Thursday, setting a record for a piece by a female artist.

The 1932 painting, which hung in the White House from 2002 to 2008, shattered the previous record set by an untitled Joan Mitchell painting that went for $11.9 million. "Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1" sold for $1 million in 1994, and was expected to fetch $10 to $15 million this time around. Sotheby's said the painting was sold by the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, with the proceeds going to its acquisitions fund. Catherine Garcia

October 17, 2014

From the BBC:

A huge, green, inflatable sculpture on a famous Paris square has raised a storm for its resemblance to a sex toy, with the artist attacked in the street.

U.S. artist Paul McCarthy told French newspaper Le Monde that his work entitled Tree had been inspired both by a sex toy and a Christmas tree.

When he went to see it on Place Vendome, a man slapped his face before running away, the paper says. [BBC]

The work has drawn the ire of France's far right, which claims it is a national disgrace:

French Spring, a French far-right group opposed to gay marriage, posted a picture of the controversial inflatable on Twitter, adding: "Place Vendome disfigured! Paris humiliated!"

It added: "This is where your tax dollars are going!" [Daily Mail]

If it's any consolation to the French, the phallic installation will come down at some point. America, on the other hand, will always have the Washington Monument. Ryu Spaeth

July 28, 2014

It started as a way for artist Willie Baronet to assuage the guilt he felt when coming across a homeless person. Now, it's turned into a large art project that took Baronet across the country to 24 different cities in one month, making connections along the way.

In 1993, Baronet began to buy the handmade signs homeless people created asking for food, money, and help, to use in his artwork. Recently he decided to create a bigger project, called We Are All Homeless. Making his way from Seattle to New York City, Baronet purchased more signs and took photographs, which he might use one day to create a documentary. He asked the homeless to set their own prices, and Baronet ended up paying anywhere from $4 to $40 per sign.

He told NPR that some signs are funny — one said, "Family attacked by ninjas, need help getting karate lessons" — while others are grave. "They're really all over the place," he said. "We've only been to one city, that was Detroit, where not a single sign we bought was humorous."

As Baronet passes through the different cities, he sees the way the homeless are treated not only by residents but by the local government. He hopes that his new project leads to more understanding and respect. "It's not us and them, it's just us," he said. "I used to think they were different than I am, and I think a lot of us are just one or two bad decisions away from being right in the same place." --Catherine Garcia

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